What is a disruptive innovation?

Disruptive innovation was first described by Clayton Christensen (of Harvard University). In his book entitled: ““The Innovator’s Dilemma”‘. He stated that disruptive innovations are “innovations that create new markets”, from pin pointing new categories of customers.

If you remember from the 1990’s, ‘reengineering’ was coined by Michael Hammer and James Champy (also from Harvard). On balance, all these management highlighted that a business can radically redesign itself and increase its service offering from recognizing the new enterprises and innovations that are in front of them.

However, how are disruptive innovations created?UBER

The ‘innovations’ are created from disrupting business modules and exploiting old technology. A recent example is the Uber taxi app, which relies on GPS to instruct taxi drivers where to pick up their customers. Here, the business model has been disruptive and the mobile computing and mobile based GPS has been exploited in a new way and is now a commodity.   

Other examples that have sprung up in the last 10 years, whilst reshaping larger industries include:

  • Google’s autonomous vehicles
  • Search engine Google has emerged from research libraries.
  • ITunes has gradually changed and updated how we purchase records.
  • In the future, 3D Printing could disrupt manufacturing.  

3d printed car

These innovative products are highly valued when used in new markets and applications. They bring many benefits, such as:

  • The growth of small to medium sized companies.  
  • Improvements to existing products.
  • The possibility of new emerging markets, an example of this was seen in the 1950s, when Sony radios were created thanks to the development of transistors.
  • Products that are of greater value to customers.
  • Simpler devices than before.
  • More convenient products to use for a range of lifestyles.
  • Cheaper manufacturing costs.

In the long term, companies that continue to supply early adopters of technology, with advanced products and new innovations that are demanded will survive, from addressing the next generation performance needs of their customers.On balance, industries that will reap the fruits of disruptive innovations will be those that uncover newer and more inexpensive ways, of delivering education and healthcare. 

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